offered scholarships by 11 US universities
A pupil in HCM City has been offered
various scholarships by 11 universities which are ranked by US News and World
Report as among the 100 best colleges and universities in the US.
Nguyen Phan Tat
Thanh started the Heart of the Youth project for disabled children affected
by the Agent Orange
Nguyen Phan Tat Thanh is studying at the High School for
the Gifted, under Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Based on
the achievements, Thanh was offered the highest merit-based scholarships. All
11 universities offered Thanh scholarships that are 50% to 90% discounts on
tuition fees for four years. For example, the University of Denver offered
USD104,000 in scholarships while the State University of New York -
University at Buffalo offered a USD37,000 subsidy. He would still be liable
to pay living costs.
Thanh said he had been thinking about studying overseas for a long time but
was unsure about his financial capability. However, his dream was realised
after Heart of the Youth project for disabled children affected by the Agent
"Studying overseas will enrich my knowledge and it will help me realise
the desire to expand the project to the US and other countries," Thanh
Thanh had the idea for the project when he met Agent Orange affected children
at Hoa Binh Peace Village at Tu Du Hospital. Thanh and his best friend Nhat
Thong then started the Hearth of the Youth project to teach the children.
"The project aims to teach the children academic and soft skills. This
is an opportunity for volunteers to help inspire the children, improve upon
themselves and make the community better," Thanh said.
Thanh's project has attracted 40 volunteers who teach 70 children at Tu Du
Hospital, HCM City Oncology Hospital and the Green Bamboo Warm Shelter. Thanh
also participated in many school activities, plays piano as well as many
sports including table tennis and swimming.
His academic achievements are impressive as he had been top students in
secondary and high schools and won a city award for solving mathematics
problems with a hand-held calculator. Besides SAT and TOEFL, Thanh's average
scores since 8th grade have always been 9.0. However, Thanh said scores were
only a small factor and the submitted essay, e-mail exchange with
universities were what would decide the scholarships.
Thanh said, "I often exchanged e-mails with the universities'
representatives and asked interesting questions. It takes three minutes to
read a 650-word essay to understand a student from far away. It took me three
months and dozens of ideas to write the essay."
Thanh wrote about his father who has great influence on his life. Thanh's
father was a company director but his company went bankrupt. Thanh has
witnessed his father's shock and struggle afterwards as he stayed home to
take care of Thanh.
"Five years later, he was hired at Agribank and was able to buy a better
house at a better location. I have been provided better living condition, why
can't I be as good?" he said.
Thanh said he would pursue civil engineering and international business at
the University of Massachusetts which offered a USD56,000 scholarship.